Anahata chakra, the heart chakra located at the center of the chest, is associated with the color green and with the air element. The qualities of this chakra are unconditional love and compassion. Anahata is the gateway between the lower and upper chakras. When this chakra is in balance we are ready to explore the higher chakras.
The gland associated with Anahata is the thymus, a critical component of the immune system. Thus, Anahata helps us to build immunity against pain and disease. Because Anahata also governs our emotions, this chakra also helps us build immunity to hurtful emotions. When Anahata is balanced, our unconditional love for all we encounter can transform our experience of these emotions. The message of the heart chakra is to accept the oneness of all of life—but we need to first love ourselves.
When Anahata is imbalanced we may feel withdrawn or lonely. We may be unable to forgive. Jealousy and possessiveness also indicate an imbalanced heart chakra. When Anahata is in balance, we are connected to universal love. Our external life becomes a reflection of our inner values. Our heart feels full.
The Prana Vayu, or quality of life force, governing Anahata is prana, or life force. Prana flows in with each breath and brings life to our cells, our mind, and our entire being. Asana, or postures, that serve to balance Anahata include all back-bending postures, which help to open the heart and facilitate the intake of prana with breath. Often, the need to forgive underlies difficulty with backbends.
Working with the heart chakra can be a very healing experience. It can also be emotional. Begin with smaller back-bending postures if your heart chakra is very imbalanced. Feel your heart literally open as you inhale prana, and feel your judgment melt away as you exhale. Your heart will begin to soften and eventually unconditional love—the essence of Anahata chakra—will shine through. With each breath you take, you have the potential to connect to this essence. Go ahead, inhale.